Archive for February 2nd, 2009


by Allan Fish

The greatest show in the history of modern American television all began with Jimmy McNulty sat on the steps outside a house in a low rundown black neighbourhood.  The pre-credit sequence ends with a simple statement from a black youth he’s talking to; “this is America, man.”  For 60 episodes, this is exactly what The Wire gave you.  America.  The America of today.  The America of George W.Bush.  It’s a legacy of apathy to sicken the hardiest soul. 

                There was a film, way back in the day – or 1991 to be exact – that set the standards.  John Sayles’ City of Hope was another in his strain of modern day ensemble tapestries of modern America.  It was set in a New Jersey town, and detailed the problems in Local Government in City Hall, in the police, in education, and in the urban ghettos of the non WASP residents.  It was a marvellous achievement considering it ran for only two hours or so, and yet because of the comparatively paltry length, the characters seemed like ciphers, representatives of Sayles’ ideas rather than an analysis of real people.  (more…)

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